In 1886, 34 leading academics, pioneers of women’s education in Japan at that time, established Kyoritsu Women’s Occupational Institute. The application document submitted to the Government gave “women’s self-reliance” as the objective of the proposed Institute, declaring that “Suitable jobs need to be created and women given the means to participate in the world of work.”
The core of the Institute’s curriculum was the knowledge and skills needed for career jobs. At the same time, the students were schooled in a culture of self-support. Our founding principle was “To improve women’s position in society by promoting self-reliance.” Kyoritsu Women’s Educational Institution has flourished for 126 years by abiding by this philosophy.
In 1928, the Institute became a professional college, shifting its primary focus from technical skills to more academic subjects.
In 1949, during the post-war educational reforms, the college became a university system, aiming to send women of superior capability out into society. We established our junior college and graduate school soon after.
Thus, while always keeping an eye on the future and seeking the path to continuing improvement on the basis of our founding principle, Kyoritsu has changed with the times to maintain its leading role in women’s education.
The founding of Kyoritsu marked the dawn of women’s education in Japan. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan embraced capitalism, modernized society and became competitive in the global economy. Our founders felt the need to promote human rights for women, to educate 19th century women in knowledge and skills, and to elevate their position in society.
Emperor Meiji, and later the Empress, visited the new school to see displays of the students’ work; they even purchased embroideries made by students. In time, due to increasing student numbers, additional space was required, and land adjoining the campus was purchased from the Imperial Household Agency.
Today, we can look back with pride on 125 years of trying to fulfill the founders’ ideals.